Non Conformity


I have recently been having problems with vodacom and wbs/iburst. I emailed them asking them what the problems might be, and cc thoes emails to one of the most brilliant minds on the planet, my good friend mothman.
The responses were dissapointing, as they both assume i run windows even after stating in my emails that i run OpenBSD (a proactivly secure unix like OS)
notice UNIX!!!!, the following are the email responses and teh_moths input on these issues. Well written teh_moth.

Hi Gareth,

I find this quite the most incredibly foolish attitude on Vodacom's
part. Are they not
aware of the increasing numbers of people running on Linux,Mac,Solaris,*BSD
desktops as well as the numbers of people who choose not to run
Internet Explrer
because of its incredibly poor security track record and poor standards
Do they realise they are locking out an large number of people who
can't run
Internet Explorer even if they wanted to?

The small amount of effort required to make their site cross-browser
(which is to say, standards-compliant, as HTML and JavaScript are well
documented and standardised by ECMA and the W3C), pales in comparison to
the amount of goodwill it would engender among users and developers of other
operating systems and platforms but it seems that its more important to
support only a browser that is the least standards compliant and ignore the

It is sheer laziness and utter contempt for their customers that is
being shown
here, dictating a specific browser and operating system (as well as
hardware platform).

Bearing that in mind I find it pretty ironic that is
TomCat (free software) plus JBoss (free software) on IBM HTTP Server (a
derivative of Apache, which is free software) on a platform which is
by IBM HTTP Server as "Unix" instead of Microsoft Windows 2000/2003 with
IIS and ASP/ASP.Net. I guess alternatives are good for them but not for


Gareth wrote:
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: RE: Re: Website comments or feedback
> Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 13:00:50 +0200
> From: Vodacom Customer Care
> To:
> Dear GarethThank you for your e-mail.Yes you are quite correct, our
> website only supports internet explorer and we cannot guarantee any
> connection on the other internet programmes such as mozzilla and
> firefox.Should you have any further queries, please contact us via
> e-mail at Warm RegardsSipho TutsheniEmail
> Contact Centre -----Original Message-----From:
> 2006/03/12 21:02:15To: Vodacom Customer
> CareSubject: Re: Website comments or
> feedback
> how can it be from a cell phone?!?!!? u think i copy and paste it from
> my cellphone?!!?!?I am using mozilla seamonkey. I also used mozilla
> firefox. I am running openbsd so dont even think about telling me "use
> IE" because microsoft wont release IE for unix ....I use IBURST
> through WBS (they use some strange MTU) and i am not behind any
> firewall.Vodacom Customer Care wrote:> Dear GarethThank you for your
> e-mail.Kindly be advised that your description you supplied is not
> very discriptive, kindly explain exacty how are your trying to
> connect,is it via your cell phone,using your phone as a modem,or from
> a laptop.Should you have any further queries, please contact us via
> e-mail at Warm RegardsMaahier DavidsEmail
> Contact Centre-----Original Message-----From:
> 2006/03/11 01:15:45 PMTo: Vodacom
> Customer CareSubject: Website comments or
> feedback
> Name: GarethTel. No.:0828831897Email Address:
> Status 500 -type Exception
> reportmessagedescription The server encountered an internal error ()
> that prevented it from fulfilling this
> request.exceptionjavax.servlet.ServletException
> org.jboss.web.tomcat.filters.ReplyHeaderFilter.doFilter(
> The full stack trace of the root cause is available in the Apache
> Tomcat/5.0.28 logs.>> "This e-mail is sent on the Terms and Conditions
> that can be accessed by Clicking on this link
> ">
> “This e-mail is sent on the Terms and Conditions that can be accessed
> by Clicking on this link "


It does seem the help desk support technician did not fully read or
understand the original message (perhaps they work off a script which
looks for keywords like "MTU") reducing their response's usefulness
significantly. Nevertheless, the equivalent settings on OpenBSD for the
"DrTcp" settings below would appear to be as follows:
(using sysctl -w):
net.inet.ip.mtudisc=1 (this is default)
net.inet.tcp.sack=1 (default)
net.inet.tcp.rfc1323=1 (window scaling, default)
net.inet.ip.ttl=64 (default)

MTU is set on the interface with ifconfig $if mtu $newmtu
(Though I would suggest to the OP that they also add
scrub all fragment reassemble
scrub all reassemble tcp
to their packet filter configuration because of the high likelihood of
packet fragmentation from WBS/iBurst. This is not related to the issue
at hand, however)

As seen above most of the settings outlined are essentially the default
on OpenBSD (it should be noted that increasing the TCP Receive window
size can have a negative impact on lossy/high latency connections as it
increases the time it takes to respond to lost packets). The rest of
the settings seem to have little worth and possible negative impact on
the correct functioning of the internet connection.

According to the instructions below, the MTU on the interface should be
left as the default (1500) if it is via ethernet cable, as it is in this
case (wireless ethernet though). Please respond if this is a
misunderstanding of the instructions.

There was no answer given as to why such a low MTU (1352) is required on
the router. This is a reasonable question as in normal cases of PPPoE
connections an MTU of 1492 is sufficient to account for the overhead of
the encapsulation over PPPoE.

This situation seems to me to be related to an upstream or router issue
possibly owing to the inadvertent filtering or dropping of ICMP. I say
upstream as the local settings on the PC have not changed (as far as I
know) between the time the site was reachable and it not being
reachable. Using a direct connection to the internet and setting a low
MTU does not cause any problems with accessing the site in question. Is
it possible for the Helpdesk to do the same test over their network and
using their devices?

Does WBS/iBurst have available a device (or a means with their existing
devices) to provide access to the ethernet network that their PPPoE
devices connect to (i.e. not provided automatically by router, or
pseudo-dialup mode with a USB "modem") in the same way that the ADSL
"modems" from Telkom do for ADSL?

James Wright

Gareth Cox wrote:
> ok, so i run this windows program on OPENBSD!!!!!!!! what the!?!?!?
> what part of "i am using unix" diddnt you get?!?!?! do you know u cant
> execute windows binarys on unix?!?! do you know what unix is!??!?!!?
> and i just wanted to know why you have that strange MTU when the
> standard is an MTU of 1500 .... please do some research on OPENBSD and
> MTU before just assuming that everybody runs windows ...
> My ROUTER that does PPPOE uses an MTU of 1352, and has always been
> working, but since this IS NOT a standard MTU setting, the rest of the
> internet doesnt like it... this is why i am curious as to why
> WBS/IBURST use 1352 as opposed to the standard of 1500...if you dont
> know what OPENBSD or UNIX or MTU are please ask someone? and then get
> back to me.
> again i assume that my problem is MTU, but since i am human, i could
> be wrong, so you might want to test, with an iburst/wbs connection to
> see if you can access and advice what the
> problem could be.
> Thankyou
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Helpdesk(WBS - Iburst)"
> To: "Gareth"
> Sent: Monday, March 13, 2006 10:21 AM
> Subject: RE: possible MTU issue
>> Good Day
>> Here is the mtu settings when you go to then you scroll
>> down to google then type in drtcp and click on search then you double
>> click
>> on,
>> broadband DrTCP by
>> then you double click on
>> Mar 21st 2002 - DRTCP021.exe (exe file)
>> Fixes for crashes under XP
>> Then you save it to your desktop close the google web page then you
>> double
>> click on the icon on your desktop and insert the following:
>> Tcp Receive Window 255555 Path MTU Discovery Yes
>> Window Scaling Yes Black Hole Detection No
>> Time Stamping No Max. Duplicate ACKs 2
>> Selective Acks Yes TTL 64
>> Dial Up (RAS) MTU 1352
>> Adapter Settings MTU (stays
>> blank)
>> iBurst Terminal or Ethernet when you connect via Ethernet cable.
>> Thank You
>> Wireless Business Solutions(iBurst)
>> Call Centre : 0861 927 4357 - (011) 877-4704
>> Eugenia Williams
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Gareth []
>> Sent: 12 March 2006 12:24 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: possible MTU issue
>> Hi
>> I have become aware of a problem in the past few days browsing
>> i get a network timeout error when viewing this site.
>> as this is the operating system i am using, i need access to this site.
>> I sense a possible MTU packet issue. I am able to access this resource
>> by ssh'ing into my server in the UK and using lynx, however, this in
>> inappropriate. I was wondering if you know about this issue, if you
>> could investigate it, and please get back to me with a solution. OpenBSD
>> is an operating system designed by a south african, i am sure he wants
>> his countrymen to access his site!
>> I would also like to find out why iburst/wbs use such a strange MTU
>> setting anyway? is it something to do with the connection being
>> wireless? I was just wondering out of curiosity.
>> I am currently a Cape Town iburst subscriber.
>> Regards
>> Gareth

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This page contains a single entry by Dusty published on March 14, 2006 8:46 AM.

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